Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum

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LGM-30A Minuteman I

The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, the largest aviation museum in Illinois,[citation needed] occupied part of the grounds of the decommissioned Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. It and the base were named for Octave Chanute, railroad engineer and aviation pioneer. The museum was dedicated to the life and works of Chanute, the former air base, the history of aviation in the state of Illinois, and hosted an annual air show.

Highlights of the museum included a collection of over 40 aircraft including military fighters, bombers, rescue, recon, and cargo aircraft. Many of these were used for training purposes at Chanute, and most were on loan from the United States Air Force Museum. Other exhibits of note included a replica of the Wright 1903 Flyer, a large collection of Frasca Flight Simulators, and tributes to the veterans who have served in America's conflicts and wars.

The museum offered summer day camp programs, including a week-long aviation camp for teens and a science camp for elementary-school aged children. In addition, the museum offered various educational and social events throughout the year.

The facility enjoyed direct runway access to Rantoul National Aviation Center Airport - Frank Elliot Field, another successful use of the former base facilities. Fly-in visitors were welcomed. Ample vehicle and bus parking was also available to accommodate groups.

The museum closed on December 30, 2015.[1][2]

History[edit]

Chanute Air Force Base operated in Rantoul from 1917-1993. After decommission, the cleanup and conversion of the 2,125-acre (8.60 km2) grounds began. Economic redevelopment of the former base was a paramount concern to the surrounding community. As of 2008, portions of the site are still unoccupied, due in part to environmental concerns including asbestos contamination. Nevertheless, much has been repurposed into civilian concerns. The Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum was one of the earliest efforts, opening in 1994.

The museum was located in Grissom Hall, which functioned as the missile maintenance training facility during active Air Force operations. Until base closure in 1993, all Air Force Minuteman missile maintenance training was provided at Chanute. The building has largely been preserved and restored to its condition at the time of base closure; hence, four authentic Minuteman training silos remain on display at the museum.

The museum was administered under the direction of a private foundation.

The museum apparently closed ahead of schedule, as of November 1, 2015. The former Facebook link is dead,[3] as is the museum's own web page, and closure on this date was reported by the Trip Advisor web site.[4]

Status of known artifacts once at the museum[edit]

Identity (S/N or BuNo) Aircraft Current Owner/Location History
41-17372 North American AT-6B Texan United States National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio Built as an AT-6B, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL (marked as 42-805). When this museum closed, the aircraft was said to be sent to the National Museum of the United States Air Force, likely in storage. Aircraft could have also gone to Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia.[5] [6][7]
43-49336 Douglas VC-47B Skytrain For scrap Built as a C-47B, later converted to VC-47B. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017.[8][9]
44-30635 North American TB-25N Mitchell United States Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham, Alabama Built as a B-25J, later converted to TB-25N. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. Before this museum closed, Southern Museum of Flight began taking apart the plane to move it to its museum.[10] [7]
44-64265 North American P-51H Mustang United States Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia Built as a P-51H, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Was accepted by USAAF July 1945 and sent to Pinecastle AAF in Florida where it was used as a training and familiarization aircraft. Transferred to Chanute Field to be used as airframe maintenance trainer. Officially retired in 1949. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to then to display at Museum of Aviation, named “Louisiana Heatwave.”[11][12]
45-8501 Lockheed P-80B Shooting Star United States Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico Built as a P-80B, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. Was seen on display at Kirtland Air Force Base as early as 2013, but may have been here well before that.[13]
45-59494 Republic YP-84A Thunderjet United States Discovery Park of America, Union City, Tennessee Built as a YP-84A, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL, improperly marked as 488656. When this museum closed, the plane was sent to display at Discovery Park of America.[14][15]
46-66 Boeing XB-47 Stratojet United States Air Force Flight Test Museum, Edwards Air Force Base, Lancaster, California Built at Boeing Seattle as a XB-47, not known to have converted to any other configuration. The second XB-47 built, after 46-65. First flight 21 July 1948. Test flown at Edwards Air Force Base. In 1954, 46-65 was scrapped, making 46-66 the oldest B-47 in existence, and the only surviving XB-47. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to Edwards Air Force Base, to the Air Force Flight Test Museum in 2016. Awaiting funds for restoration.[16][17]
47-615 North American F-86A Sabre United States Fort Wayne Air National Guard Station, Fort Wayne, Indiana Built as a P-86A, later redesignated F-86A in 1948. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL (once falsely marked as 72910). When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to display at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Station heritage park.[18]
51-7200 Grumman HU-16B Albatross For scrap Built as a SA-16B, redesignated HU-16B in 1962. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017.[19] [9]
51-9531 Republic F-84F Thunderstreak United States Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, California Built by General Motors as a F-84F, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. The plane was seen dismantled at Palm Springs Air Museum in September 2015.[20] Was noted as being reassembled and marked as 26675 in April 2017.[21]
52-898 Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter United States McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Alcoa, Tennessee Only vertical stabilizer preserved Built as a KC-97G, later converted to C-97G. Formerly displayed near the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017. Vertical stabilizer sent to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, near Knoxville, Tennessee, for display. The tail has been painted with the serial number of KC-97L Stratofreighter, s/n 53-354, a plane that flew with the 134th ARW at the base, (the actual 53-354 is on display at Castle Air Museum, California).[22][23] [9]
52-9797 Lockheed T-33A Shooting Star United States Fort Wayne Air National Guard Station, Fort Wayne, Indiana Built as a T-33A, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to display at the Fort Wayne Air National Guard Station heritage park.[24]
53-412 Douglas JRB-66B Destroyer For scrap Built as a RB-66B, later modified as a JRB-66B to test radar and control system of Boeing-MARC BOMARC missiles. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017.[25] [9]
54-104 Republic F-105B Thunderchief For scrap Built as a F-105B, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017.[26] [9]
54-1784 North American F-100C Super Sabre United States Prairie Aviation Museum, Bloomington, Illinois Built as a F-100C, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. Went to Prairie Aviation Museum, Bloomington, Illinois, for display, in August 2009.[27][28]
54-1785 North American F-100C Super Sabre United States Yankee Air Museum, Belleville, Michigan Built as a F-100C, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to the Yankee Air Museum, near Detroit, Michigan.[29]
55-037 Lockheed GC-130A Hercules United States Museum of Missouri Military History, Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Center, Jefferson City, Missouri Built as a C-130A, later converted to GC-130A. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping, but was moved in May 2016 to display at the Museum of Missouri Military History at the Missouri National Guard Ike Skelton Training Center, Jefferson City, Missouri.[30]
55-095 Boeing B-52D Stratofortress United States Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum, Titusville, Florida Only nose and cockpit section preserved Built as a B-52D, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Became ground instruction airframe; only the nose and cockpit section remained. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. Went to Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum before Chanute Air Museum closed; under restoration.[31][32]
55-666 Convair B-58A Hustler United States Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California Built as a YB-58A, later redesignated B-58A. Was once modified as an engine test bed for the General Electric J79-GE-5 engine. Assigned to Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, California. Put on display at Chanute Air Force Base, IL as 61-2059. Later painted as itself. Was damaged by Chanute Air Museum staff while they were attempting to move the plane while the wheels on the main gear were locked up and the nose gear was irreparably fractured. When this museum closed, the plane remained in a hangar at Chanute until August 2017, when it moved to Castle Air Museum.[33][34]
56-273 McDonnell NF-101B Voodoo United States Rantoul National Aviation Center, Rantoul, Illinois Built as a F-101B, later converted to NF-101B. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was to be sent to Southern Museum of Flight, Birmingham, Alabama. It was seen still on tarmac behind the former Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum in July 2018.[35][36]
56-732 Lockheed F-104A Starfighter United States McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Alcoa, Tennessee Built as a F-104A, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. Before this museum closed, the plane was sent to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, near Knoxville, Tennessee, for display.[37] [7]
56-2009 Douglas C-133A Cargomaster For scrap Built as a C-133A, not known to have converted to any other configuration. To Chanute Air Force Base Apr 1971 as a training airframe. Transferred to National Museum of the United States Air Force custody Jun 1977, but remained on display at Chanute AFB, and eventually to Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017.[38] [9]
59-2796 North American AGM-28A Hound Dog United States Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia Built as a GAM-77; GAM-77s were later redesignated AGM-28As in June 1963. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the missile was sent to display at Museum of Aviation.[39]
61-686 Bell UH-1B Iroquois (“Huey”) United States Discovery Park of America, Union City, Tennessee Built as a HU-1B, later redesignated UH-1B in 1962. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the helicopter was sent to display at Discovery Park of America.[40]
62-4494 North American CT-39A Sabreliner For scrap Built as a T-39A, later converted to CT-39A. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping. Put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017.[41] [9]
62-12201 McDonnell RF-4C Phantom II United States Regional Military Museum, Houma, Louisiana Built as a YRF-110A Spectre (the third of the aircraft that would become USAF F-4s), soon redesignated RF-4C. Delivered to GE Flight Test Jan 1966 for General Electric J79 engine development work. Returned to USAF Jun 1972. Also used for development of SUU-16/A gun pod. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to display at the Regional Military Museum, Houma, Louisiana.[42][43]
63-8287 Republic F-105F Thunderchief United States Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky Built as a F-105F, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping, but found a new home at Aviation Museum of Kentucky.[44]
63-8441 Northrop F-5B Freedom Fighter United States Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami, Florida Built as a F-5B, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was sent to display at Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.[45][46] Currently displayed completely covered in chrome.[47]
63-9767 General Dynamics F-111A Aardvark United States Waukegan National Airport, Waukegan, Illinois Built as a F-111A, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Was used as an engine/intake test bed. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was sent to Waukegan National Airport and restored. To be put on display at the Lake County Veterans Memorial at the airport.[48][49]
67-21411 Cessna O-2A Skymaster United States Museum of Aviation, Robins Air Force Base, Warner Robins, Georgia Built as an O-2A, not known to have converted to any other configuration. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to Museum of Aviation; in storage there.[50]
69-6190 Ling-Temco-Vought GA-7D Corsair II United States Russell Military Museum, Zion, Illinois Built as an A-7D. The plane ended its career by being sent to the Technical Training Center at Chanute Air Force Base in February 1977 for use as a ground instruction airframe for mechanics, and redesignated GA-7D. Around 1985 it was restored and placed on display at a memorial park on the base. When the base closed in 1993, it became property of the National Museum of the United States Air Force, who loaned it to the new Chanute Air Museum in 1994. When this museum closed, the plane was sent to display at Russell Military Museum, Zion, Illinois.[51]
71-0286 McDonnell Douglas GF-15A Eagle United States Saint Louis Science Center, St. Louis, Missouri Built as a F-15A. First flight Jun 14, 1973 at St. Louis, Missouri. Used as the trials aircraft for armament development and external fuel stores testing. Assigned to the F-15 Joint Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, Sep 1973 to Nov 1980. Withdrawn from use and redesignated GF-15A. Was at Technical Training Center, Chanute AFB from Mar 1982 to Aug 1990. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the aircraft was sent to the Saint Louis Science Center; likely in storage off site.[52]
Unknown Boeing LGM-30A Minuteman I United States Rantoul National Aviation Center, Rantoul, Illinois This LGM-30A was a gate guard at the former front gate of Chanute Air Force Base. Was put up for sale in auction by Government Liquidation for scrapping on Sep 25, 2017, but it seems the Minuteman was not scrapped, as seen in current satellite imagery.[53] [9]
139947 (Navy BuNo) Douglas A-4A Skyhawk United States MAPS Air Museum, North Canton, Ohio Built as an A4D-1, later redesignated A-4A in 1962. In June 1987, the plane was finally retired from the Navy and transferred to Chanute Air Force Base for use in maintenance training. After a year it was marked as a Blue Angels aircraft and placed on display, transferring to the Chanute Air Museum when the base closed in 1993. When this museum closed, the plane was transferred to MAPS Air Museum.[54]
141311 (Navy BuNo) Lockheed EC-121K Warning Star United States Yankee Air Museum, Belleville, Michigan Built as a PO-2W, redesignated WV-2 before delivery, then to EC-121K in 1962. Formerly displayed at the Chanute Air Museum, IL. When this museum closed, the plane was destined for scrapping, but was moved in 2017 to the Yankee Air Museum, near Detroit, Michigan; awaiting restoration.[55][56]

Non-military and replica airframes[edit]

Frasca International in Urbana has taken back the flight simulators it had loaned to the museum.[7]

Site Visit July 2018[edit]

On a visit to the site of the former museum in late July 2018, it was noted that the site was not yet clear. On the tarmac of what was the outdoor section of the museum, the Douglas C-133A Cargomaster was seen still intact, as well as the McDonnell NF-101B Voodoo (56-273), which was to go to the Southern Museum of Flight in Birmingham, AL. Several other aircraft were in the process of being scrapped, portions of which could still be recognized. This included the front section of the fuselage of the Douglas JRB-66B Destroyer, the front section of the fuselage of the North American CT-39A Sabreliner, the bottom half of the fuselage of the Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, a portion of the rear fuselage of the Grumman HU-16B Albatross, and most of the fuselage of the Republic F-105B Thunderchief. Large engines were also seen, likely from the C-97G and the Douglas VC-47B Skytrain, as well as other pieces of fuselages. On a fence bordering the area was a sign with a Legal Notice attached to it to ‘Stop Work.’ There were areas on the Notice that could have been filled out, such as the date and which violations were found, but nothing was there; it is not known how long the Notice was on the sign.

Remains of Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, July 29, 2018.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hinton, Dave (April 23, 2015). "Chanute Air Museum closing in Rantoul". Paxton Record. Paxton, Illinois. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  2. ^ Porterfield, Amanda (April 23, 2015). "Chanute Air Museum closing for good". WCIA. Archived from the original on November 7, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ http://www.facebook.com/chanuteairmuseum
  4. ^ "Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum, Rantoul". TripAdvisor. 
  5. ^ "Aerial Visuals Airframe Dossier (41-17372)". Retrieved 2018-08-02. 
  6. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (41-17372)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Close to midnight at the museum". Rantoul Press. 2015-09-22. 
  8. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (43-49336)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Government Liquidation Event ID 40913". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  10. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (44-30635)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  11. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (44-64265)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  12. ^ "Museum of Aviation (P-51H)". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
  13. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (45-8501)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  14. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (45-59494)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  15. ^ "Aerial Visuals Airframe Dossier (45-59494)". Retrieved 2018-03-11. 
  16. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (46-66)". Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  17. ^ "Flight Test Historical Foundation 46-066 page". Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  18. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (47-615)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  19. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (51-7200)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  20. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (51-9531)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  21. ^ "Aerial Visuals Airframe Dossier (51-9531)". Retrieved 2018-03-11. 
  22. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (52-898)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  23. ^ "Aerial Visuals Airframe Dossier (52-0898)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  24. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (52-9797)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  25. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (53-412)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  26. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (54-104)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  27. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (54-1784)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  28. ^ "Prairie Aviation Museum (F-100)". Retrieved 2018-03-01. 
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  30. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (55-037)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  31. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (55-095)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  32. ^ "Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum B-52 Restoration". Retrieved 2018-02-19. 
  33. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (55-666)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  34. ^ "Glory of former base slowly dimming as another AF plane leaves". Rantoul Press. 2017-08-15. 
  35. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (56-273)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  36. ^ "Aerial Visuals Airframe Dossier (56-0273)". Retrieved 2018-03-08. 
  37. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (56-732)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  38. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (56-2009)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  39. ^ "Museum of Aviation (AGM-28A)". Retrieved 2018-02-20. 
  40. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (61-686)". Retrieved 2017-12-22. 
  41. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (62-4494)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  42. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (62-12201)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  43. ^ "Vietnam War Plane to take up residence at Regional Military Museum". Houma Today. 2016-06-10. 
  44. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (63-8287)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  45. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (63-8441)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  46. ^ "Supersonic Challenges: The Installation of the F-5 Fighter Jet (Jan 27, 2017)". Retrieved 2018-03-02. 
  47. ^ "Smithsonian Torch Affiliate Spotlight (Frost Museum)". Retrieved 2018-03-02. 
  48. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (63-9767)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  49. ^ "Lake County Veterans Memorial". Retrieved 2018-02-27. 
  50. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (67-21411)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  51. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (69-6190)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  52. ^ "USAF Serial Number Search (71-0286)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  53. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Skytamer Octave Chanute Aerospace Museum Guide". Retrieved 2018-02-01. 
  54. ^ "USN Bureau Number Search (139947)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  55. ^ "USN Bureau Number Search (141311)". Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  56. ^ "The Warning Star Rescue Project". Retrieved 2018-02-28. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°17′42″N 88°9′9″W / 40.29500°N 88.15250°W / 40.29500; -88.15250